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Category Archives: Solar System: Moons
We all remember learning the mnemonic device in elementary school: My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles (or whatever variation you prefer). Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, the eight planets of our solar system. But what do these names actually mean? How do planets and moons and other stuff inContinue reading “How do we name our Solar System?” Continue reading → Continue reading
Three weeks ago, for my Earth System Dynamics course, I listened to a Radiolab podcast about the distance between the Earth and the Moon. In “The Times They Are a Changin’” paleontologists talk about how coral shells taught us that the Earth used to have shorter days. Their shells have tiny bands, an alternating patternContinue reading “The Moon’s Tug” Continue reading → Continue reading
The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, which means that we always see the same side of the Moon. People have come to call the side of the moon that we do not see the “dark side” of the Moon, as they think that this side never sees the sun and that the Moon’s […] Continue reading → Continue reading
Enceladus is a medium-size moon of Saturn, with a diameter of about 500 km. Its surface temperature is quite chilly, ranging between 32.9 K (-240 degrees Celsius) and 145 K (-128 degrees Celsius); this is partially because of its distance from the Sun, and also because of its highly reflective surface. The entire moon is … Continue reading Enceladus → Continue reading → Continue reading
The only kind of lock in space with no key. Tidal locking is when one hemisphere of a revolving body constantly faces the object it rotates around, or as wikipedia says more jargon-y, “when the long-term interaction between a pair of co-orbiting astronomical bodiesdrives the rotation rates into a harmonic ratio with the orbital period. In the figure … Continue reading Tidal Locking → Continue reading → Continue reading
I know what you’re thinking so let’s get that out of the way. High tide would be a lot higher. Whenever the two moons are aligned on the same side of Earth, their combined gravitational pull would increase the tide significantly. This would probably push civilization further inland, as living near a coast or river … Continue reading What if the Earth had 2 moons → Continue reading → Continue reading
At the end of this month, on January 31st, we will be oh so lucky enough to witness several lunar events happening at the same time. The… Read more “Every Once in A “Purple” Moon” Continue reading → Continue reading
Or something like that. Wow! On January 31st, 3 lunar events will coincide for the first time since March of 1866 resulting in the Moon appearing bigger, redder, and also bluer? This is what cool scientists call a “Super Blue Blood Moon.” When the Moon is at its perigee, the closest point to Earth in … Continue reading Super Blue Blood Moon Blue Snow Super Blood Blue → Continue reading → Continue reading
In the quest to find habitable bodies, Jupiter’s moon Europa has been a high priority on the exploration list due to its liquid saltwater ocean underneath its ice crust. Three key ingredients for life must be present in order for biological activity to take place: liquid water, chemical ingredients, and energy sources able to enable […]Continue reading → Continue reading